Monday, September 28, 2015

Deception & Nobles Canyons, Wollemi NP, NSW, Australia

2015 September: Explore Deception Canyon and Nobles Canyon, Wollemi National Park, NSW, Australia


Wollemi National Park is a wonderland, full of pagoda-like rock formations and canyons. Today's trip is to Deception Canyon and Nobles Canyon ... fascinating places !

Both are dry canyons that you can easily walk in.  Deception Canyon is not mentioned anywhere on the web.  We are truly blessed to be one of a handful of people who have visited this wonderful place.

Nobles Canyon has 2 sections, the 2nd one is longer. Both sections are spectacular. You really should be there to experience them !

5 of us are on today's trip: FM, FB, NC, RZ and me.

After exploring Deception Canyon, FM hurt her shoulder, so we leave her on a rocky outcrop. The rest of us go on to Nobles Canyon ... We are serious hikers ... Nobles Canyon has first priority over the well being of a fellow hiker  :-)


•  1:100,000 scaled 8931 Wallerawang
•  1:25,000 scaled 8931-4S Ben Bullen  and  8931-3N Cullen Bullen

Here is the 1:25,000 scale map of where we spend our day.

GPS tracklog files & Route
KML file of the drive from Blackheath to where we park our car on Glowworm Tunnel Road:

The GPX tracklog file of our walk:

Here is our tracklog (brown colour) in the 1:25,000 map.
- Deception Canyon:  Upper green oval
- Nobles Canyon:  Lower green oval
- Where we park our car:  Small red circle on Glowworm Tunnel Road
- Lookout over Wolgan River:  As the crow flies, about 200 to 300 meters north-west of Deception Canyon.

A summary of our route is:
- Park car by the side of Glowworm Tunnel Road (small red circle in the above map).
- To a lookout over Wolgan River.
- To Deception Canyon (upper green oval of the above map).
- To Nobles Canyon (lower green oval).
- Return to car.

Timeline & Distance

10:57  0.0 km  Start bushbashing from Glowworm Tunnel Rd
11:45  1.2 km  At lookout over Wolgan River

Morning tea

12:03  1.3 km  Leave lookout
12:09  1.4 km  At top of cliff where climbing tape is used

Climb down tape

12:32  1.4 km  Leave bottom of cliff
12:44  1.6 km  At start of Deception Canyon
13:02  1.7 km  At end of Deception Canyon

(GPS reception is not good inside the canyon, distance given here is not to be trusted.)

13:32  2.2 km  Leave Deception Canyon
13:57  3.0 km  At rocky outcrop where we leave FM

14:02  3.0 km  Leave rocky outcrop
14:35  3.8 km  At start of Nobles Canyon
14:46  4.2 km  At end of Nobles Canyon
14:47  4.3 km  At where we turn around

14:55  4.3 km  Turn around and retrace our steps
14:57  4.4 km  At Nobles Canyon
15:17  4.9 km  Leave Nobles Canyon
15:56  5.8 km  At rocky outcrop to pick up FM

16:05  5.8 km  Leave Rocky outcrop
16:18  6.2 km  Back at car at Glowworm Tunnel Rd


Total:  5 hrs 21 mins  at leisurely pace
           6.2 km  Distance is from Google Earth
           7.7 km  Distance is from Garmin GPS

Pictures - To a lookout over Wolgan River

1)  Five of us start here at Glowworm Tunnel Road. NC is explaining where we'll be going today.
Left to right: NC, RZ, FB, FM

2)  It is bushbashing straight away.
Left to right: RZ, FB

3)  Climbing up this rock to survey the surrounding landscape ~~~
Clockwise from the Left: NC, RZ, FM, FB

4)  Sliding down ~~~
There are plenty of this type of terrain.
From top to bottom: FM, FB, RZ, NC

5)  The top of this pagoda-like rock formation is a lookout with a splendid view ... see photo #6 ...

Lookout over Wolgan River

6)  From the top of the rock of the previous pic is a lookout with this splendid panoramic view ~~~
- The lower pic is a continuation to the right of the upper pic.
- Donkey Mountain is at the centre of the upper pic.

7)  Donkey Mountain ~~~
The Emirates One&Only Resort is in front of Donkey Mountain. On hearing that it is a real luxury resort, I suggest that it would be a good idea to climb down to there for the night. Then FM said that the price tag for a bed is above $2000, I quickly shelved the idea.
But the question remains ... why would Emirates want to build a resort in such a remote location? ... This place is in a no-man's land, miles from nowhere.
PS: Donkey Mountain is a most amazing place. You must give it a visit. Photos and trip reports on my climbs are in my blog:
- To its west side:
- To its east side:

8)  Still at the lookout ~~~
Plenty of pagoda rocks

9)  Isopogon, a Drumsticks plant at the lookout ... Is it Isopogon anemonifolius (Broad-leaf Drumsticks) ?

To Deception Canyon

10)  Now going to Deception Canyon, but first need to climb down this rock face with a climbing tape. NC and RZ go first.
- In the right pic, the camera is pointing down at RZ.

11)  Then it is my turn, followed by FM and FB.
This rock face is probably climbable without a tape. Also I suspect that if you search around, you maybe able to find a gentler slope where you can climb down without a tape.

12)  Heading to Deception Canyon ~~~
FM is pointing the way.

13)  Not far from Deception Canyon now ~~~
RZ is in front.

Deception Canyon

14)  About to enter Deception Canyon ~~~
FM is leading the way in. NC is marking this entry point in his GPS. RZ is to his right.

15)  Just inside Deception Canyon
- Left pic: looking back at the entrance where FB is taking a photo
- Right pic, left to right: NC, RZ

16)  Walking inside Deception Canyon ... it is a dry canyon.

17)  An amazing place !

18)  An amazing place !

19)  Left pic: Looking back at Fiona who is taking a photo.
Right pic: Some not-so-easy climbing is required inside the canyon. In this pic, I've climbed up a little bit and is looking down on the ground in the direction where we came from.

20)  This is the not-so-easy climbing that I had mentioned.

21)  FB climbing up

22)  Left pic: RZ
Right pic: We've finished the climbing, and is now on an upper level of the canyon. (Left to right: FM, RZ)

23)  Still inside the canyon (FM)

24)  Finally we are out in a small open space where we have lunch and admire the place. Only a handful of people have ever been here ... you won't find this place described anywhere on the web.
You can see a narrow slit on the left side of the photos ... more about it later.
In the lower photo, left to right: NC, FM, FB, RZ

25)  After lunch, we reluctantly leave this wonderful place. Instead of retracing our steps, we exit via the narrow slit in this photo ... the same slit as in the previous pic.

To Nobles Canyon

26)  After Deception Canyon, we are on our way to Nobles Canyon ... but first, some rock scrambling.
NC is leading, followed by RZ and FB.

27)  Passing by this rock formation

28)  Going through a gully ... we are heading towards Nobles Canyon.
NC is leading, followed by RZ.

29)  Taking a rest ... two lovely ladies FB & RZ ~~~
It is here that FM can't continue any further ... she hurt her shoulder earlier when climbing up inside Deception Canyon  :-(  So we leave her here to fend for herself  :-)
Sorry to leave you here FM ... Nobles Canyon is more important than looking after you  :-)

30)  We are on our way to Nobles Canyon - now threading through a long narrow slot between 2 cliffs.  (Strange that on the return trip, we can't find this slot ! ... see Photo #63.)
NC is leading, followed by FB & RZ.

31)  (We've passed through the slot of the previous photo.) ~~~
There are plenty of these pagoda-like rock formations.

32)  Now going along a gully filled with brackens ~~~
NC is leading, followed by RZ.

33)  The gully is lined with these pagoda-like rock formations.

34)  More pagodas

35)  And more pagodas

36)  A narrow passage between 2 large rocks ~~~
NC is leading, followed by RZ.

37)  We are going down another gully ... beautiful, isn't it !

38)  FB climbing down.

39)  We are close to the entrance of Nobles Canyon.
Left to right: NC, RZ, FB

Nobles Canyon - 1st section

40)  Turn the corner and we'll be in Nobles Canyon.
FB is in front. Further ahead is NC.

41)  We've just entered Nobles Canyon ~~~
This is the first of the two sections of Nobles Canyon.
Left pic: RZ is in front. FB is further ahead.

42)  Inside the 1st section of Nobles Canyon  (RZ)

43)  Left pic: Taken at the same spot as the previous pic - FB & NC are looking up at the chockstone wedged between the two cliffs.
Right pic: Same area as the left pic, but looking backwards

44)  Going further along the canyon ~~~
Left pic: RZ
Right pic: NC is leading, followed by FB & RZ.

45)  About to exit the 1st section of Nobles Canyon

46)  Out in the open ... and heading to the 2nd section of Nobles Canyon ~~~
RZ is in front.

47)  While having a short rest, I take this photo of the frond of a fern.

Nobles Canyon - 2nd section

48)  About to enter the 2nd section of Nobles Canyon ~~~
Left pic: FB
Right pic: RZ

49)  Inside the 2nd section of Nobles Canyon ~~~
Left pic: RZ

50)  Inside the canyon ~~~
Left pic: NC is leading, followed by RZ.

51)  Inside the canyon

52)  Inside the canyon
Right pic: NC is on the left edge. RZ is in red. FB is further away.

53)  Looking up at the slither of sunlight filtering through the narrow gap above
Left pic: RZ is in red. NC is further away.

54)  RZ walking through the canyon

55)  RZ (left pic) and FB (right pic)

56)  Walking through the canyon
Right pic: NC is leading, followed by FB.

57)  About to exit the 2nd section of Nobles Canyon

58)  Once outside the canyon, we go on for about 100 meters down a gully. We are thinking of pushing further along ... perhaps we may come to a lookout overlooking the Emirates One&Only Resort. The thought did cross our mind to leave FM behind and keep going to the resort for dinner. But someone pointed out that the price tag for the dinner will be high, so we reluctantly turn back to pick up FM.
Left to right: NC, RZ

Return to car

59)  We've retraced our steps all the way back to the entrance to the 1st section of the canyon.
- The cliff on the right is the same cliff on the left side of Photo #39.
- The cliff pointed to by the red arrow is the cliff in the next pic.
- RZ is in front.

60)  This cliff is the one pointed to by the red arrow in the previous pic.

61)  A narrow passage between 2 large rocks - the same passage as in Photo #36.
- Upper pic: Entering the passage ... NC is leading, followed by FB & RZ.
- Lower pic: Leaving the passage

62)  In a gully with pagoda-like rock formations on both sides ~~~
This is the same gully as in Photos #32 - #34.
NC is leading, followed by FB & RZ.

63)  We are threading up a long narrow slot between 2 cliffs; and we thought this is the same slot as the one we came from - Photo #30. Unfortunately it is not. The end of this slot is blocked by a vertical cliff. So we back-track.

64)  We search around for the slot that we passed through in Photo #30. But we can't find it. So we climbed up this rock face instead.
RZ is in front. FB is in front of her.

65)  Once we've climbed up, we are presented with these magnificent pagoda-like rock formations.

66)  Pagoda-like rock formations.

67)  Pagoda-like rock formations

68)  More pagodas

69)  We've picked up FM who is waiting for us at a rocky outcrop. She is fine, not eaten by a wolf or a wild pig. So now we are heading back to our car.
Left to right: RZ, FB, FM

No comments:

Post a Comment

Donations are welcome to support the creation of more interesting articles in this blog  :-)